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Ben Stebbings hoping for a helping hand

By David Banner | Cricket | Published:

Shrewsbury head to Dorridge tomorrow with skipper Ben Stebbings insisting they need a helping hand to keep alive their Birmingham League title hopes.

Ben Stebbings.

Last weekend’s excellent 39-run victory over reigning champions Berkswell saw Shrewsbury climb to second place in the Premier Division table with two games remaining, writes Stuart Dunn.

The London Road side are 20 points points behind leaders Knowle & Dorridge, who will be final-day visitors to Shrewsbury on September 16, and the county town club would dearly love to set up a winner-takes-all showdown.

But Stebbings, a realist, said: “I think it’s slim. All we can do is just win on Saturday and hope that Ombersley do us a favour by beating Knowle & Dorridge.

“It’s lucky that it is Ombersley playing Knowle & Dorridge at this stage of the season because they’re probably one of the few teams that could beat them.”

But Stebbings added: “If Knowle & Dorridge win this weekend, they will just need a bonus point against us, which they will inevitably get, so we could do with Ombersley doing us a favour.”

Stebbings and his team know they will need to be at their best to get the victory they require at sixth-placed Dorridge.

“They’ve got some really good players,” he said.

“They’re a dangerous side and we’ll have to be careful, so we’ll take nothing for granted whatsoever.”

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Stebbings expects Shrewsbury to be without Worcestershire all-rounder Ed Barnard, who struck a brilliant century against Berkswell last weekend.

Barnard is currently playing a County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

He said: “I think Ed will play the last game of the season for us and he’s keen to play this Saturday, but it depends on his cricket this week. He’ll tell me later in the week whether he can or not.”

Spinner James Hulton-Harrop is unavailable but Sam Griffiths is set to return while Stebbings hopes that Warwickshire’s England Under-19 seamer George Panayi will also be available.

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